1 SAMUEL 11
WRT For those that were not with us last time, it might be worth recapping that Samuel anointed Saul king in secret, and then subsequently he brought the people together at Mizpah, and at the end of chapter 10, there were some lawless ones, the children of Belial, who resented and despised Saul, and we saw that he clearly was not accepted by all.
In this section where we started reading today, the threat from the Ammonite became great, and as a result, the Spirit of God came upon Saul, and he led the people, through God’s help, to this victory.
We have Nahash the Ammonite, and I think “Nahash” means “serpent,” which would maybe teach us something. The Ammonites and the Moabites were opposed to God’s people, and sought to bring them into bondage whenever they could, and clearly there was a measure of bondage: Nahash had been advancing through the land of the two and a half tribes until he had reached this point at Jabesh-Gilead, which was almost at the river Jordan.
I presume, from Samuel’s comment in verse 12 of chapter 12, that they had seen the advance and danger of Nahash, and that was what had prompted their original request for a king in order to be like the other nations. But God’s thought was that they should be the nation of Him alone.
I suppose the fact that some were dwelling on the east side of the Jordan made them more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy, and it seems a bit sad that the men of Jabesh were willing to make a covenant with this Gentile king who approached and threatened them. At the same time, there does not seem to have been any great concern with the rest of Israel that this was going on on the other side of the Jordan. Nevertheless God used it to bring about the appeal to the children of Israel. It was only when Nahash imposed this condition of thrusting out their right eyes that they asked for this opportunity to seek help from Israel.
I am sure the brethren have many impressions which we can share together.
TRP What would Ammon represent for us today, please?
WRT Well, I am sure you know better than I do, but I assume it is an aspect of the world which would seek to bring the Lord’s people into bondage. These Israelites on the east of the Jordan were more vulnerable. They seemed perhaps to be a bit half-hearted in their commitment to the Lord, and as a result they were more susceptible to dangers from those around. And we noticed also that they had three cities of refuge on that side of the Jordan even though there were only two and a half tribes, which would suggest that the dangers were greater. I think, for us, if we are half-hearted in our commitment to the Lord and to His things, then we shall be in greater danger from the world around us.
MJC Satan is set against the people of God, and he goes for the weakest. I was thinking of what you were saying about the meaning of the name Nahash. Moab and Ammon are sons of Lot (Gen 19:36-38), and Lot is a type of the worldly Christian (Gen 13:10-13), and descendants of worldly Christians can be a great snare to those who really want to go on rightly, but who have a certain weakness, do you think?
WRT I am sure you are right. Jabesh-Gilead had rather a sad history. At the end of Judges they were mostly put to death because they had not been concerned to help with the matter of dealing with Benjamin (Judg 21:5, 8-12); most of them, apart from 400 young virgins, were slain. And now it seems that things must have reached quite an advanced stage, in that Nahash had reached this place near the Jordan. But even so they seemed to be happy, initially, to make a covenant.
KEGB When God comes into the matter, the enemies are dealt with, as verse 11 shows, far more completely and efficiently, and the children of Israel were therefore protected much better, than if they had gone along with the covenant that they were prepared to make in verse 1. It is wonderful when God comes in: things are done so much, we might just say, better – fully, completely, thoroughly – than anything that mankind can arrange.
MJC I think that is very helpful for us in our day. We are living in a day of great weakness, and what is the answer? It is dependence on God, is it not?
KEGB Exactly. It is so not only in our day, but with all God’s dealings with all His people, I think, through all the ages. Is that not right?
MJC I think that is perfectly right, and a very salutary word for us.
WRT I think one of the reasons Samuel had to rebuke them in chapter 12 is that they were in danger of thinking that, in requesting a king, they had made a good decision; and because God had blessed Saul in the saving of the people here, in the defeat of Nahash, they had good reason to celebrate, but there was a danger that the natural man would just assume that it was because they had made a good choice. But Samuel has to bring home to them, not only his credentials for speaking straightly to them, but also God’s faithfulness, and takes them over their history and points out how they failed. He provides them with the hope of blessing if they will stick to God’s word.
DO I was thinking about the beginning of this chapter. It is very interesting, because when we see the devil, how can we apply this part of the chapter to our life? But the enemy cannot come against God’s people and destroy them, until they ask here to make the covenant. The enemy said, ‘We will make a covenant with you,’ but they just encamped around, they just threatened God’s people, even though the people were very weak, as our brother said. But it was a good thing that the weak people sent messengers to the stronger ones, and God came in, as our brother said.
MJC What agreement can there be between light and darkness (2 Cor 6:14)? And it is good to see that they were wanting help from their brethren.
DO And it was a good thing that they did not make the covenant straight away. They said, ‘Give us a little time to pray, to think about it, and just to go for God’s help.’
PKL Is that what was missing initially in their reaction? The first thing they did in verse 1 was to think of making a compromise – the thing that was missing was enquiring of God, was it?
WRT Well, there seemed to be a general lack of any desire after God’s things, and it was only after this additional pressure was put on them that they realised that the enemy was a nasty, dangerous enemy to have, because putting out their right eyes would have prevented them from ever fighting again.
SML You drew attention at the beginning to the fact that it seems from verse 12 of chapter 12 that it was this problem with Nahash that led them to ask for a king. But then, in a way, it is a sad sort of reaction, is it not? Because in effect they were turning away from God in seeking a king, to have a man instead of having God as their king. God nevertheless overrules in this chapter and brings in deliverance, but it shows a worrying state amongst the people, and it is a worrying thing to me that I can turn to everything else instead of what God has actually ordained.
WRT Well, they were saying they wanted to be like other nations, whereas God had shown them favour in choosing them out of all the other peoples to be a nation for Him. And He was to be their king. I suppose that is like us – we look around for all sorts of natural means of sorting things out, whereas we should cast ourselves upon God.
TRP Our brother has said that Lot is like a type of a worldly Christian. Now putting out one eye means that these persons would not be able to see rightly. How does that work out today, please? Because the enemy has not changed his tactics, has he?
MJC That is a very necessary question to ask. Is it not right that, not only should we be separate from the world, but separation has to be maintained in relation to what is worldly in Christendom – in the Christian profession? And if we compromise with it, we will lose our spiritual vision.
DEM As one who has the use of only one eye, I can testify that the biggest thing you lose is your perception of depth. And I think, if they had gone on and accepted this, they would not have been able to discern evil – they would have been swallowed up in it.
MJC It is to their credit that they did do what they did, despite the weakness of the moment. The altar of grand appearance (Josh 22:10) was no help to them in this issue, was it? They could not go to that altar – they had, really, to go to their brethren, and in so doing, to go to God.
TRP The Lord, when we were blind, gave us sight, and the enemy wants to impair the sight.
DO This was done once to Samson, yes?
MJC He lost both eyes!
DCH Even in a sad situation like this, the Spirit of God came on Saul. God never forgets His people, does He?
DO I was thinking about this matter of the sight, and they wanted to be like the other nations. So slowly, slowly, the devil tries to capture them and to take their sight away from God. And that helps me to learn not to want to be like worldly people.
MJC There is a Scripture, “Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint” (Prov 29:18).
AND The most dangerous thing they did was seeking to make a covenant with Nahash. As we were saying earlier, can the believer never make a covenant in that sense with godless people – the world? I would like some more help on the dangers of that.
MJC In its teaching, though, the children of Ammon and Moab are not exactly the world, because they are descended from Lot, who is a type of a worldly Christian. They have a religious background similar to the children of Israel. They have some knowledge of God. They were not like the Egyptians. They were not like the Chaldeans. They were not like the Babylonians. These were people that were somewhat related to the people of God.
AND I suppose it was the worldly spirit, was it, that marked Ammon? They wanted to take away Israel’s enjoyment of God’s things.
DO It is very important that they have not made any covenant with them. Because we know about some people who came to Joshua, and Joshua made a covenant with them, and once he made the covenant he was tied into that covenant (Josh 9:3-21). That is a lesson for me not to make any covenant with the world.
TRP The thing that you said as to vision is very important, because vision involves that I see clearly, and hold in my heart, the present glory of Christ seated at the right hand of God. I hold firmly to the glory of His appearing, and what He is going to bring in. Now the enemy would blind us, probably occupy us with negative things, things that are right in their own place, to the exclusion of vision.
MJC I do not know whether you remember an address in this room by Ken Hollands on ‘the big picture.’ And it was very helpful to me, because vision has to do with a wide and a big view. I think sometimes we get bogged down with detail, and do not see the big picture, which is what you have just said.
TRP You get an example with Elisha. The young man could see only the overwhelming power of the enemy, and Elisha asked God to open his eyes so he could see what God was doing in all His glory and power (2 Kings 6:17).
MJC It is similar to the spies sent out – the twelve were sent out, but only two came back with the right vision (Num 13:26-33; 14:6-9).
DO God always makes provision for us, so we should run to Him.
SML There is an interesting passage in Corinthians that speaks about those that “the god of this world has blinded … so that the radiancy of the glad tidings of the glory of the Christ … should not shine forth for them” (2 Cor 4:4). It just bears out the truth of what you are saying, that it is the radiancy of the glad tidings of the glory of Christ that is the answer to this kind of blindness. It comes back to a Person.
PKL Why is Saul unaware of what is happening?
WRT He was in the fields – he had not assumed full kingship, but he was still humble, and awaiting God’s time, I take it.
PKL Yes, and subsequently they renewed the kingdom, and Saul was “made” king (vv 14-15). I just wondered whether he had not really taken up his responsibilities, but as a shy man, at least to start with, maybe this was an understandable start to his kingship.
DJB Should we, at this stage of the history, distinguish a good deal between the people of Israel themselves, and Saul as an individual? Saul is a man who is trying to do his best according to the light of nature. The people generally are going against God. Saul is doing what he can to help the situation, is he not?
BED Is that why there is a sovereign act of God, the Spirit coming upon him?
DJB Yes, I thought so. We well know, of course, that Saul’s is a history of decline and moral collapse. But, if there is a single lesson to learn from Saul, it is that the best that man can do is a failure. But he did try, and I think at this point we should respect the fact that God used him.
TRP It is interesting, what you say, because when David became king, and the Philistines spread themselves, the first thing he did was to enquire of Jehovah (2 Sam 5:17-19). Saul does not do that, does he?
DJB No, he does not, and this is not the only time. But the Spirit of God, as our brother was noting, came upon him. God used what he could, and we can be thankful for that, because it did actually bring about a deliverance for a time.
MJC What do you see in the fact that he slaughtered the oxen and sent the pieces around Israel? What is the teaching in it for us?
DJB Well, I do not presume to know what the teaching is. I thought that, in his own way, he was seeking to provide a rallying point to bring the people of Israel together. We might say it was a very brutal way of doing it, but we are dealing, of course, with men on earth, and with earthly kingdoms. But he was concerned that everyone should become involved. Previous and subsequent history shows great danger where the people of God are divided.
Rem I could not help thinking it was the same sort of thing as what happened at the end of Judges, where the concubine was cut into pieces and sent throughout the borders of Israel (Judg 19:29-30). And it was the same town, Jabesh-Gilead, that supplied the virgins for the tribe of Benjamin (Judg 21:6-7, 12-14), and of course Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin (1 Sam 9:1-2).
I had also been looking at the way the people had behaved. They had rejected God, which is what Samuel said when they asked for a king to be appointed over them (ch 10:19); and this, in some sense, follows on from the Book of Judges, which shows decline as soon as they entered into the land of promise. They went to worship other gods; Dan, of course, set up their own idol until the captivity (Judg 18:30).
PKL I was wondering, in connection with the question of Saul using this method to gather the people, whether we see a great difference in David. The people came to David – they gathered to him in the cave of Adullam when he was in rejection (1 Sam 22:1-2). We see a great difference, I think, between David and Saul. David is a type of Christ; Saul is not.
MJC I think it is almost like worldly principles here, that he is pressing the matter – and it does gather Israel together – but it is consistent with what he is as a man after the flesh.
BED Is that why, when he summons the people, he speaks of coming “after Saul and after Samuel?” He puts himself first.
PKL It is really a threat, is it not?
MJC We have had that some years ago – ‘Either do this or be withdrawn from.’ It is the same thing in principle, is it not? It brought about a measure of unity among us, but on the wrong basis. But here God uses the situation to deliver his people in their weakness, and I think it is very noteworthy what our brother said earlier as to the fact that these were the tribes that were on the wrong side of the Jordan. The first test that comes along at this time of weakness is on the wrong side of the Jordan, is it not?
SML Something that has puzzled me since we started reading about Saul is that it is very obvious that the people are charged with turning away from God because of choosing a king, and yet, as our brother pointed out a couple of months ago or so, God takes up the idea of kingship. And you see something similar in other ways too – the first city was built by Cain (Gen 4:17), and yet the greatest expression of a city, I suppose, is going to be the holy city which comes down from God (Rev 21:10). I just wonder why God takes up these thoughts that seem to start off rather doubtfully, shall I say, and uses them so distinctively – and indeed makes Christ His King on Zion’s hill (Ps 2:6).
TRP And yet, all those years before, in Deuteronomy, God makes it quite clear, ‘When you come to the land you will say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations.’ And it is interesting – He gives certain qualifications that should mark the king.
WRT What reference is that?
TRP That is in Deuteronomy 17:14 onwards. So God was not taken by surprise – He knew that this was going to happen, and He made provision for it.
WRT Yes. I think it was part of what He always had in mind, David, of course, being a type of Christ, and I think that the children of Israel had to learn that it had to be God’s choice and not theirs. Saul was a man after the flesh, as we have already said, and naturally appealed to them because he was taller and bigger than those around. But God had in mind that they should learn lessons through having Saul as king, and that would make way for the Man of His choice.
DJB There is nothing wrong with the principle of kingship, is there? God is King.
SML Well, yes, God had taken His place as their King, had He not? That was why He said to Samuel, ‘They have not rejected you, but in asking for a king they have rejected Me’ (1 Sam 8:7). So God was in that place of King, yes. (See also end of ch 12:12.)
DJB But then is it not a constant lesson of Scripture that God “takes away the first that He may establish the second” (Heb 10:9)? And there are very few things that we come to, as believers in the Lord Jesus, of which we have not previously experienced the wrong side. We experience the old man before we experience the new man, and we experience this world before we experience God’s world, and so on. And that is how, as fallen creatures, we have to learn lessons, is it not?
SML Yes, I think that is a very helpful way of looking at it. And these chapters themselves, about Saul and what sadly happened with him, help us to learn a lesson about kingship, and what God’s King is like by contrast, do they not?
DO I was thinking how in Deuteronomy 17 the people would say, “I will set a king over me,” and I wondered if it was because this was the time when they asked for the king, but it was not God’s time when He wanted to set the King over them. And I think here it was the wrong king – I do not know, maybe you have another impression.
DJB I think Psalm 2 brings it out very well, does it not? “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the princes plot together, against Jehovah and against His Anointed” (v2) – that is the attitude of the world. God’s answer is, “I have anointed My King upon Zion” (v6).
MJC The whole thought of kingship looks towards its fulfilment in Christ – as regards the earth, His millennial reign; and as regards us, His Lordship now.
DJB Pilate said to the Lord, “Thou art then a King?” (John 18:37). The Lord did not give a direct answer, but He said He had come to “bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears My voice.” And one of the first things for a believer is to recognise the sovereign authority of the Lord.
MJC And then the Lord goes on to say to Pilate as to authority being given from above (John 19:11). We see it, do we not? I mean, we are living in the time of the reviving Roman empire – the fourth kingdom (Dan 2:40). Israel having failed, God has committed power into the hands of the Gentiles. They fail too, and it remains for His King to come in from mount Zion, does it not?
TJK I was just going to remark that perhaps the idea of kingship came in in Genesis 1, when God said to Adam, “Have dominion” over the creation (v28) – that word “dominion” is kingship. Of course, it looked on to Christ, I think.
TRP The challenge is whether I have accepted God’s anointed King. We have seen recently how men have elected their own king in Protestantism, in the Anglican Church. But is Christ Lord? Is He King to me? Or does He take the second place, as He did in Ephesus in Revelation (ch 2:4)? Is He my life?
GKB Is there not a side of all of us that likes something that we can see, as opposed to what is unseen? It says in 2 Corinthians that it is the things that are unseen that are eternal (2 Cor 4:18).
TRP It is a question of whether I am exercising the gift of faith that God has sovereignly given me.
GKB I was thinking earlier of the reference to Lot, and the sons of Lot. Their mothers had no faith (Gen 19:31-32). We read in Timothy of the faith that was in his mother and his grandmother (2 Tim 1:5). What a contrast!
RPM We have just been speaking about the Lord as King. Perhaps we do not refer to Him that way very often – we tend to refer to Him as the Lord. Is there a distinction between the Lord and the King? Do they bring up different thoughts?
TRP I will tell you what William Kelly said: he said lordship in Scripture is the title of God – He is Lord – and it gathers in kingship, but lordship is greater. Does that help?
PKL God’s thought – eternal thought – is God and men. He started with Adam – God and man. Kingship came in, and it will be headed up in Christ in the millennium, will it not? Then it will show what God’s idea of a King is. But does it really go any further than the millennium? The kingdom is delivered up, is it not, to Him Who is God and Father (1 Cor 15:24)?
TRP William Kelly developed the thought in this way. He said, ‘You cannot approach the sovereign of this country as a commoner without an invitation. But you can approach the Lord.’ There is the glory of kingship in Christ, but there is the approachability that every one of us can enjoy. Kingship does not provide us with access in Christ.
MJC Perhaps we might have a thought as to headship. It is just interesting, is it not, that we know the Lord as Head. He is Head over all things to the assembly. So there is the sphere of influence, and what comes down from Him to us, which is apart from lordship and kingship, is it not?
AND I was thinking about what David said in 1 Chronicles 29. He blessed Jehovah in the sight of all the congregation. “Blessed be Thou, Jehovah, the God of our father Israel, for ever and ever. Thine, Jehovah, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the splendour, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is Thine: Thine, Jehovah, is the kingdom, and Thou art exalted as Head above all; and riches and glory are of Thee” (vv 10-13), as expressed in our hymn (3). Are all of these thoughts to an extent encapsulated in what he says there? Is that really worship there?
MJC I am sure it is, and it is an impression, a wonderful impression, that David had of God as Head, which appears, from the passage you have quoted, to be above all the other features. Is that right?
DJB Yes, that is my impression, that headship is an eternal idea, that everything comes under the sway of God, and everything gains from His blessing. The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 says “He gives up the kingdom to Him Who is God and Father; when He shall have annulled all rule and all authority and power” (v24). So there is nothing left that is resisting, and nothing is left but blessing. Blessing comes down directly from headship, does it not?
MJC I am wondering if that really is the emphasis in Revelation 21 in the first section, which deals with the eternal day.
TRP We have spoken of kingship. The responsibility of a king is to provide for the practical needs of all his subjects, whether it is security, food, housing, clothing – everything. That is the responsibility of a king, is it not? No king has ever lived up to that, but the Lord will.
DJB I suppose that every believer is conscious in some measure of God and the Lord as King, and conscious that the Lord is in fact supreme. And I would trust that every believer, in measure, acknowledged the Lord as having personal authority. Whether we could actually say that we know much about the Lord as Head, let alone God as Head, may be quite another matter. What do you think?
MJC I think what you say is very right. There were some very interesting three-day meetings with Gerald Cowell on the headship of Christ and of God, and I think they bore on this point, and it is very much more testing. The headship of Christ is far more testing, really, spiritually, than His lordship. At least, that is what I have found.
DJB Yes, because it lies beyond the realm of prescription. There is a good deal that is prescribed in Scripture which we go against at our peril, but the headship of Christ exercises influence where there may be no formal prescription.
TRP And it involves union with Christ.
DJB Go on.
TRP The one body is here, and we are all joined together, are we not? So that what comes from the Head flows down through every member of that body.
PKL So in Genesis 2, we get the “helpmate, his like” (v18) made for Adam. That would express the thought of Adam’s headship, would it not? When sin comes in, “he shall rule over thee” (Gen 3:16). That is the thought of lordship, is it not? And God’s thought – eternal thought – is God and men, and as our brother said, the thought of headship goes through. God will be Head over all – everything will be subject to Him, and in a sense there will be no need for lordship, because there will be nothing contrary.
BED All will be completely under His influence.
MJC That is what makes it so remarkable that headship can be known and enjoyed in a scene where there is still sin. In the eternal day to come there will not be sin – there will be nothing against God; it will all have been dealt with finally. But is it not wonderful, brethren, that we can enjoy headship now, in spite of the present conditions?
TRP Are we able to enjoy a little of it because of the service of the Holy Spirit? But I believe that the Holy Spirit uses love – love for Christ – to bring us into the enjoyment of union with Him.
MJC And we need always to remember that only what is of Christ can be united to Him.
PKL We shall get the benefit of Christ’s headship only as we are subject, shall we not?
AJC Is headship what we have in Romans 12? “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your intelligent service” (v1).
MJC I think that is right, because it suggests intelligence, and I think spiritual intelligence – we are not talking of natural intelligence – is necessary for any understanding we may have of headship. I do not think lordship demands spiritual intelligence – it demands obedience. But headship demands spiritual intelligence. And I think what you say is right – the result of it, and the result of coming to the end of the first order of man, is that we can present our bodies a living sacrifice.
TRP Taking up what our brother has drawn our attention to, the incentive is, “By the compassions of God.” What does that mean, please?
DJB Is there not at least a reference back to the previous chapter? “God hath shut up together all in unbelief, in order that He might shew mercy to all” (Rom 11:32) – that is a mark of His compassion, is it not? And, at the very end of that chapter, “Of Him, and through Him, and for Him are all things: to Him be glory for ever. Amen. I beseech you therefore” (Rom 11:36-12:1).
TRP The mercy of God draws our hearts back to what Jesus has done for us.
DJB I would just say, I think, that Romans 12 is essentially practical – and none the less important for that: it is vital that the Christian puts Romans 12 into practice. But there are aspects of the headship of the Lord Jesus that move, shall I say, above what is practical, and have to do with His interests in glory. I do not claim to know much about them, but I believe that to be true.
TRP Is that not supported by what the Lord says – ‘The Father seeks those who worship Him in spirit and truth’ (John 4:23)? That involves the leading of the Lord’s headship, does it not?
KEGB When it says, categorically, in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “Christ is the Head of every man,” is that creatorial, or does that apply only to believers?
DJB I thought it was a place that the Lord Jesus had taken as being raised from among the dead, and I seem to remember having heard it said that we can say to any man that there is a new Head for him. He may not be obedient to that Head, but He is available, and it is a blessing for sinners who recognise Him, is it not?
KEGB So it is believers in that chapter?
DJB I think it is a general truth, that even in the gospel – we may not put it in these words, but – we say that “God has made Him, this Jesus Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). That is Who He is for everyone. To get the blessing of it, we must receive Him first as Saviour. But He is Lord of all.
PKL And the hymn says, Head of all creation (Hymns 395 and 43).
MJC In that respect, He will be manifest publicly as Head of all. The interesting thing is that we can appreciate this now, in spirit, and practically too.
DJB The verse in Acts 10 where Peter is preaching says, “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ” – that is the blessing of the gospel – then in brackets, “He is Lord of all things” (v36). Mr Darby says, “Lord of all.” We sing ‘Crown Him Lord of all’ (Hymn 9) – we do not actually mean just believers, do we? ‘Lord of all.’
DO And all things will bow before Him.
DJB Absolutely, yes. “Every knee should bow” (Phil 2:10).
SML Adam was head of the race, was he not? That was the position he was given. And the Lord has filled out that place completely and perfectly, has He not, as Head to every man. “Head of all principality and authority,” we are told – that is another presentation, in Colossians (ch 2:10).
DJB Willing and unwilling.
Ques How does what we are saying relate to the thought of headship as presented in 1 Corinthians 11? It says there that the head of the woman is the man, and the head of the man is Christ (v3). Is it not the case that 1 Corinthians 11 is referring to the relationship of brothers and sisters in the Lord, in the assembly? This is not in relation to everyone in the world.
MJC Mr Darby’s footnote to verse 3 is helpful. It is every man as opposed to a woman. This is not, if I have got it right, creatorial. This is in relation to assembly order, which is what you are saying.
KEGB What you say is very helpful, but the same truth is reflected in Genesis, with Adam and Eve.
MJC I suppose, really, we learn from it that the general principle is the headship of Christ – Head of every person, Head of creation. But in practice it works out in the assembly. It is not yet seen in the world – that is obvious. Every knee has not yet bowed to Jesus, and the headship of Christ is not known in the world. But that does not mitigate the principle, does it?
KEGB So it is seen in practice amongst the saints who are walking in an orderly way.
MJC Exactly. And that is just what the apostle is trying to deal with in Corinth – there was disorder, particularly in relationships in the assembly.
RPM That brings us back to our chapter in Samuel, does it not? I was thinking of what our brother said earlier about the perception of depth. It is as we get away from these worldly customs that we see in depth and get an appreciation of what is of God.
MJC I think that is very important, to draw our thinking from Scripture and not from what happens in the world. Really, what should mark believers, our thinking, our outlook, our purpose in life, is to be derived from God, and His word, and not from the circumstances of life around us. And it is very difficult, because what is around us gets into us, it gets into children – certain ways of thinking, in schools and the rest, get in. But we have to guard against that, and see that what God’s word says is what counts.
TRP The great principle is shown when God took up Israel, because He took up Israel that He might manifest His glory through them to the pagan world. We, as members of the body of Christ, are responsible to manifest the glory of our Head in this pagan world.
JPW I have got two thoughts. I was thinking of the end of chapter 12: the testimony is carried forward in the hands of a faithful priest. And the other thought I was thinking of is that our King has died, as you see in the first few verses of Ecclesiastes: the sun went down (Eccles 1:5).
MJC I was thinking earlier of the fact that Samuel again shines in this chapter, as a faithful man. He is a faithful prophet. He brings the prophetic word to bear, and he does not scruple to tell them of the wrongness of what they are embarking on. But God stands by him, and the people fear – they come to a fear of God. It is very sad that they should have to come to it that way, that they did not willingly come to a respect of Samuel – it was through what he said and did.
JPW It says in that earlier chapter of Samuel that that faithful priest was serving in the presence of God’s anointed (1 Sam 2:35).
PKL Do you think Saul would be a type of Israel, that God bore with and went on with for a time, but He knew that His King – David – was going to come in? David, really, was a type of Christ. Of course, David failed, which the Lord never did, but God went on with the people, knowing what He was going to bring in.
MJC What our brother said earlier bears that out – “He takes away the first that He may establish the second.” How thankful we are that the Lord has been established, and He has been given to be Head over all things to the assembly!
DO I was impressed by what it says here, that when the Spirit of God came upon Saul, all the people of Israel gathered as one (vv 6-7).
MJC We see it very much in evidence in the early chapters of the Acts. Coming to Acts 13, you see a diverse company of persons acting as one (vv 1-2).
AND It is interesting that it was fear that made them come out as one man to acknowledge Saul’s, and Jehovah’s, rule over them. But the unity of God’s people in the coming day will be love, will it not, for Christ?
MJC And that really should motivate us now, and I believe it does. I think you are absolutely right. It was fear, and fear is never the right principle, in that setting, to be united to one another on. It must be in love, and love for God, love for Christ, and the power of the Spirit.
TRP Does not the love the Lord has shown you and me in what He has done motivate our love for Him? And the more we contemplate what He has done, what it has cost Him, I believe the deeper our affection will be for Him, and He will have a greater place with us.
KEGB And, according to John’s Gospel, the proof of love is that we obey His commandments (John 14:21).
TRP Because it is a pleasure, when you love somebody, to do as they ask you!
PKL 1 John says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has torment, and he that fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Of course, other Scriptures would show us that the fear of God is a right fear, but this fear is not.
MJC It is borne out by the most part of 1 Corinthians, that there was not really true love for Christ in Corinth. They were reigning as kings, there was fighting among them. There was not true love, and they had to be adjusted. And the wonderful thing is that a great measure of adjustment came in in Corinth. And those chapters have been a great mercy and blessing for the Church ever since.
TRP And we too had no love for Christ. But the Spirit of God gave us God’s love in our hearts – one of the great mercies of God. Have you some thought, please, as to the last paragraph of chapter 11?
WRT Well, I thought it might be worth noting that Samuel gathered them together at Gilgal. It was a place where the reproach of Egypt had been rolled away (Josh 5:9), and they had set up the stones, twelve stones, to remind them as a memorial of the deliverance and way by which God had brought them (Josh 4:6-7, 20). Previously Saul had gathered them together at Gibeah, whereas here Samuel takes them to Gilgal, and I thought it might be with a view to restoring them to the full joy of the place that they had been brought to. You had some thought yourself? I also wondered about the renewing of the kingdom (v14). It was not exactly a renewing of Saul’s kingdom, but of God’s kingdom.
TRP You are thinking, as to Gilgal, that it was the place of self- judgment, where I see myself as God sees me. We are looking in the divine mirror – how often do I do that? How often do I take the lesson of what I see there home to myself?
MJC I suppose, too, the encouraging thing is that they went there! They followed a good lead by Samuel.
26 March 2013
Key to initials
Kenneth E. G. Barber, Basildon
Graham K. Boyes, London
David J. Burr, London
Andrew J. Chapman, Croydon
Marcus J. Chapman, Croydon
Adrian N. Deacon, Basildon
Bernard E. Deacon, Basildon
David C. Hollinshead, Basildon
Tim J. Knappett, Croydon
Mark Lemon, Maidstone
Paul K. Lewis, Croydon
Robert P. Munster, London
David E. Mutton, Bromley
Daniel Olteanu, London
Roger Pons, Sevenoaks
William R. Trim, London
John P. Wheeler, Oxted